Dan Walker: Tributes pour in for Sheffield 'legend' on last day at BBC Breakfast, after M40 motorway drama

Tributes have poured in for Sheffield’s Dan Walker as he paid an emotional farewell to BBC Breakfast colleagues and viewers.

By Robert Cumber
Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 11:32 am

The presenter is leaving after six years on the red sofa to join Channel 5where he will present 5 News and also host a range of other programmes – and today was his last day with the BBC.

His final morning included a surprise appearance from his former co-host Louise Minchin, with whom he shared a hug before she joined him and Sally Nugent on the sofa.

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Dan Walker says goodbye on his last day on BBC Breakfast (pic: BBC)

Louise, who left BBC Breakfast last September, told him: “You have touched the hearts of the nation over the last six years.”

Who will replace Dan Walker on BBC Breakfast?

BBC Breakfast colleague Jon Kay, who is the bookies’ favourite to replace Dan, said: “You’ve been brilliant on @BBCBreakfast - especially guiding us all through those early lockdown days with such kind, calm and reassuring authority.”

BBC Breakfast sports presenter Mike Bushell, who is also among the frontrunners to take over, tweeted: “Breakfast legend @mrdanwalker will always be. One of loveliest h sapiens on the tele box and genuine wonderful friend and bloke off it. Always makes a very difficult job seem so easy.”

Leeds Rhinos also wished him ‘good luck’ in the new job, adding: “Dan and all the @BBCBreakfast team have been so supportive of Rob Burrow and of Kevin Sinfield’s fundraising over recent years.”

What did Dan Walker say in his farewell speech to BBC Breakfast viewers?

In his farewell speech, Dan thanked his colleagues and the viewers who have tuned in over the last six years.

"It’s been a real privilege to sit here and present this programme, which we all know means an awful lot to so many people who watch,” he said.

He added: "Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for all the comments, the kind messages and the many lovely words over the years.”

Dan also had a message for his successor, who has yet to be announced.

He said: “I hope they care about the programme, they care about the people they work with and care about the viewers as well.”

Dan’s preparations for his final day didn’t go exactly according to plan.

He described how he had been stuck at services on the M40 yesterday evening charging his electric vehicle and got to Manchester very late that night, meaning he got less than three hours sleep.

The Sun has reported Dan will earn £1.5 million a year in his new role – about five times his BBC salary – though Dan himself advised his followers to take news from ‘so-called sources’ with a pinch of salt.

What will Dan Walker do at Channel 5?

Posting last month, he said: “In a nutshell… a bloke with a really good job, which he loved, got offered a really good job somewhere else which provided an amazing new challenge and the opportunity to make some exciting telly.”

A job advert was recently posted for Dan’s replacement, who it said would be paid in excess of £100,000 for a 26.5-hour working week.

At Channel 5, Dan – who joined BBC Breakfast in 2016, replacing Bill Turnbull – will reportedly host the news at 5pm four days a week and present six hours a year of prime-time shows.